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Students experience different role in emergency exercise

College of Nursing student Austin Morris gets treated at an emergency exercise at the Sioux Falls Airport.
College of Nursing student Austin Morris gets treated at an emergency exercise at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport.

Nearly two dozen students from South Dakota State University’s College of Nursing participated in an emergency situation training activity at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport last week.

The students, who are in their fifth semester at the college’s Sioux Falls site, acted as victims during the morning’s exercise instead of serving in their normal roles as health care providers.

“Being a patient allowed me to see what it’s like being on the other side and how one’s being treating,” said Austin Morris, who is from Sioux Falls and pretended he had a shoulder laceration. “I think it’ll help after graduation in terms of me trying to be more personable and try to get a better feel for being with patients.”

Courtney Grays, who is from Los Angeles, had to portray a victim who lost part of his leg in the exercise. He agreed with Morris about how it was a learning experience being on the other end of health care. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and paramedics were at the airport as were members of the South Dakota Air National Guard and American Red Cross.

“It changed my perspective,” Grays said. “Today let me see what happens before they get to the hospital because I'm typically going to be in the hospital if something like this happens.

“It puts the entire picture together better. It also puts me in their shoes so I can know what the patients experienced ahead of time. It just fills the health care puzzle up a little better,” he continued.

College of Nursing student Samantha Wiseman waits for treatment at an emergency exercise at the Sioux Falls Airport.
College of Nursing student Samantha Wiseman waits for treatment at an emergency exercise at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport.

Samantha Wiseman, a Crooks native, has already accepted a position in an intensive care unit after graduation.

“It's definitely interesting because I know how crazy it can be dealing with so many patients at one time,” she said, noting she had to portray a patient who had a clavicle fracture after getting hit with debris.

“They’ve done a great job in terms of assessing what’s wrong with us and treating us accordingly to get the help we need,” Wiseman said. “Because of the position I accepted, I’ll possibly be dealing with critical-care patients like these after graduation.”

Mary Anne Krogh ’85/’11 Ph.D., the College of Nursing’s dean, encourages students to participate in community activities to not only see how other health care practitioners work but to also give back. For example, students have participated in flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

“Our students learn firsthand about the various phases and impacts of public health and help fulfill critical roles, when needed,” Krogh said. “We appreciate their hard work, dedication and service and look forward to them becoming leaders for local, regional and national health care providers.”